A couple of house-keeping items to let you know about.

When the Royal Palm trees were relocated earlier this year, there were four wooden stakes that were attached to each tree, presumably to help stabilize the trees’ position.

Those pieces of wood were supposed to be removed in July, however you may have noticed they’re still attached to the trees.

We reached out to Gateway CDD Operations Manager April White who told us: “It was decided that we would keep them staked as a safety measure due to hurricane season.”

Fair enough.

And secondly, it appears one member of the GSCDD staff has been working too hard. Or at least they haven’t been using enough of their earned paid vacation time.

District policy states that no CDD employee may save up more than 240 hours of paid time off.

GSCDD staff were previously warned that if they did use time their excess vacation time off before September 30 then they would lose any accrued paid time off over 240 hours.

September 30 is the GSCDD’s end of fiscal year.

The employee in question (who we’re choosing not to name) says that they were never warned, at least not until the excessive amount of vacation time accrued was discovered.

Given the September 30 deadline, the staff member had no choice but to put in a request for a ridiculous amount of time off in August and September, but everybody realized it wasn’t really ideal to lose this employee for the better part of two months.

A compromise solution was devised that would see the district pay the employee cash for their excess time off.

Two internal GSCDD memos on the topic differ somewhat.

A memo from White to the Board of Supervisors asks for permission pay the employee for 186 hours – or $3,781.

Meanwhile, a memo from Gateway’s lawyer, Anthony Pires Jr., to the board states that he didn’t see anything illegal about a “buyout/buydown” of the excess vacation time of 223.975 hours, if that’s what the board felt was in the best interests of the residents.

It’s a difference of about 40 hours between the two memos. White’s figure is most likely the accurate one, which could mean the employee is taking one week off.

At any rate, the Supervisors will have to decide if they will pay the employee $3,781 for their excess vacation time. The only other real option is to force the employee to take the rest of September off and then they would lose whatever else remains of their accrued vacation time over 240 hours.

White has made it clear that this situation will not repeat itself, and that going forward all district staff must adhere to the September 30 deadline of having no more than 240 hours of paid time off accrued.

Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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